“If people would only talk about what they knew the world would be a much quieter place.”
I have been thinking over the last few months about Harold Camping and his (once again) wrong prediction about the rapture. Yes I knew it would be wrong months ago when I heard one of his workers try to justify the theory.
For anyone who has been living in a cave, or more likely who are not exposed to the weirdness that is my life, Harold Camping predicted the beginning of the end, the rapture, the “great callin’ up,” the start of the tribulation. This prediction was certain this time (as opposed to last time) and was Saturday, May 20, 2011. Despite all the billboards, ads, parties, and advertising trucks driving around the country, alas nothing happened. At least nothing that a foolish academic like myself could see. Brother Harold insists that this is the beginning of God’s judgment even if it didn’t turn out the way he expected.
What made me so sure about the wrongheadedness of Camping’s prediction was the manner in which he arrived at it. Camping claimed to have worked his way backward all the way to the first day of creation and had come to learn that May 20th was the last day.
Let’s first all agree that no one can work their way back to the day of creation. The text of the Bible is simply not meant to show that. The genealogies in the Scripture are theological rather than primarily historical. Now before you gather up stones, let me say that the genealogies are historical in the sense that they really happened and what is being reported is real history. What the reader should not assume is that the biblical genealogies are meant to fill in every single person. There are gaps in the lists that are left there for theological reasons. A simple look at the gospel of Matthew’s genealogy will convince anyone that Matthew is constructing his list around the theme of exile and redemption-a theological theme, and that there are many fathers, grandfathers, and even more grandmothers who are missing from the list. Any one who thinks that he (and I use the male pronoun here because these crazy predictions are rarely made by the fairer sex) can trace the lineage of Jesus using just the information that Matthew has given us is simply in desperate need of a calculator or a lab partner who knows how to use one.
There is no sense in with the genealogies in the text intend to show how much time has passed because there are gaps, people left out, of the list. Telling us the TIME OF THE END OF THE WORLD IS NOT THE POINT OF THE GENEOLOGIES. As I tell my students if your point and the Scripture’s point are different, I’d change one of them, (they know which one).
I am a little fired up about this nonsense because it brings shame upon the cause of Christ and His Church. Brothers and Sisters this should not be. Let us all covenant now to never again purchase a windmill because of a computer programmer’s mistake that would bankrupt the world at midnight on Y2K. Let us never again think “Well, he’s a pastor, he might know.” If the Lord himself didn’t know then the “Rev. Pokey” from the Possum Swallow Nebraska’s Church of the holy snake handling won’t know either.
Three rules from the SamLam college for biblical knowledge: Read the Bible, what does it really say; pray to the Lord, what does he really say; and for the love of pete stay off the crack pipe. We have enough problems on our hands.
This has been a rant but a needed one. The church must get past being seen as Deacon Chim-Chim who, looking up in the stars each night for her own white horse because horse Sunday is here. It is a disgrace to the church and a disgrace to our savior that nothing is being done to publicize the event where each church gets its own angel horse. That troubles me when one of my kind (and by kind I mean readneck) says something so stupid that the atheists have parties for it.
I think that is enough ranting for now. Look back up to the Einstein quotation above and don’t you dare ask me about the Mayan calendar.
The Prophet Sambo